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A Raisin in the Sun (1961) Poster

Trivia

Louis Gossett Jr.'s film debut.
Although she plays Sidney Poitier's mother, Claudia McNeil was actually less than 10 years older than he was.
The title comes from the Langston Hughes poem, "Harlem (What Happens To A Dream Deferred?)".
There was a tense and antagonistic relationship between Sidney Poitier and Claudia McNeil during the making of this film. The tension between the actors had first developed when they were acting in the Broadway version of the story. McNeil felt that film should adopt her character's point-of-view, a stance supported by the play's author Lorraine Hansberry, while Poitier believed his character's struggles should be the focal point of the film. The actors' distaste for one another never quite diminished, and Poitier wrote many years later that he believed that McNeil hated him.
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The Broadway production of "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York on March 11, 1959, ran for 530 performances and was nominated for the 1960 Tony Award (New York City) for the Best Play. Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Ivan Dixon, Louis Gossett Jr. and John Fiedler recreated their stage roles in the movie version. A 1960 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play nomination went to Claudia McNeil.
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The line spoken by Walter, "The lion waking now, honey .... Wimoweh!", during the native dance scene is a reference to the song, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)" written by Solomon Linda and made famous by The Weavers and The Tokens.
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Sidney Poitier was nominated for the 1960 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Drama for "A Raisin in the Sun" as Walter Lee Younger and recreated his role in this production.
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The character Mr. Lindner (from the Clybourne park "welcoming committee") was portrayed by John Fiedler. 28 years later, Fiedler portrayed the same character in a remake of the story; in a "Play-for-television" which starred Danny Glover and Esther Role and was directed by Bill Duke. However, his character's first name in the play was "Karl" whereas in this 1961 film, his first name is "Mark."
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The character Willie Harris was portrayed by actor Roy Glenn. 6 years after this movie was made, Glenn would again share screen time with Sydney Poitier in the film "Guess who's coming to dinner", in which he portrays Sydney's father. (Though in actuality, Glenn is only 10 years Poitier's senior)
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Sidney Poitier & Ruby Dee played husband and wife in this movie just as they would again 11 years later in "Buck and the Preacher" (1972).
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